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Traditional Archery

Osage orange traditional archery longbow

Osage orange longbow

Traditional archery has been a passion of mine for over 15 years. When I started on this journey back in 1999, information was still pretty sparse. The internet wasn’t very user friendly (remember the days of AOL and dial tones) and you didn’t have sites like this that show you step by step how to make bows, sharpen broadheads or make a bowstring. I also didn’t have anyone to show me how it was done so I made plenty of mistakes learning the things that you’ll see demonstrated here.

I’m really proud to have an entire blog and video series on traditional archery so you can quickly learn the things that took me years to master. Learning how to make all your own traditional archery equipment and learning to shoot it accurately though will still take some work. I wish there was a place like this online when I first started but hey, hardship builds character right…

When most people think of traditional archery, they think of a beautifully arced longbow or recurve and some will even think of bow making. You’ll find that here but that’s just the beginning. Below are links to posts and videos that will show you, step by step, how to make a longbow, create beautifull and functional arrows, strings, and all sorts of other traditional archery related projects.

A lot of what you’ll find here shows you how to make stuff – bows, arrows, etc. But, even if you shoot a modern longbow or recurve, you’ll find some useful info here as well. Like tips on shooting traditional bows accurately and how-to projects that are applicable to any traditional bow.

How to make a longbow

This is the premiere video series on how to make a longbow. Here, I show you exactly how to take an Osage orange blank and make your own selfbow from start to finish. My complete list of traditional archery videos is below. Simply click on the link and the video will play on this page.

Showing results for "How to Build a Longbow & more" Playlist

  • How to make a longbow - Part 1: Backing an Osage Stave

    This is the first of three videos covering how to make a longbow. In this how-to video, we'll be taking an Osage Orange stave down to one growth ring (aka, chasing a ring). This is part one of a three part bow making series on how to build an Osage orange selfbow.


  • How to make a Longbow - Part 2: Layout & Roughing out

    Description This video is the second part of a three part series on how to build an osage selfbow from scratch. In Part 1 we took a stave down to a single gowthring that will serve as the back of our bow. In this video we layout the design and rough out the bow in preperation for tillering. w...


  • How to make a Longbow - Part 3: Tillering

    Part 3 in a 3 part series on how to make a longbow, or selfbow, from osage orange. In this video we go through the tillering process and finish the bow off. Also we'll take a look at steaming some slight working reflex into the outer portions of the limbs.


  • Making a Flemish Twist String

    Description In this video, we'll make a flemish twist bowstring for our selfbow. We're using B-50, but this will work for any material.


  • How to make fletchings from wild turkey feathers - making arrows

    Description Here, we'll take a look at how to make your own fletchings form turkey feathers. I show the split & grind method in detail, as well as show how to strip feathers if you want to go that route.


  • How to sharpen a broadhead (single bevel)

    Description In this vid, we'll take a very dull two blade, single bevel broadhead and get it shaving sharp.


  • How to serve a bow string

    Here, we'll take a look at how to serve a bowstring and install an adjustable nock (on the cheap). I always use monofilament fishing line as serving, which is very durable, cheap, and easy to find.


  • Making a simple bowfishing reel

    No reel, no problem. If you've got a tin can, a few scraps of wood, an old hacksaw blade, and some inner tube, you're good to go. Here, we'll take a quick look at making a super simple bowfishing reel that works great.


  • Backing a bow with Rawhide (how to)

    We'll take a look at how to back an osage orange selfbow with rawhide in a few easy steps. Applying backing to a longbow or recurve will help guard aginst splinters rising on the back of a questionable stave. This particular flatbow had a small crack running across the grain on the back. Without backing it never would have held together. Rawhide backing is available at


  • How to install fur string silencers

    A quick look at how to install fur string silencers on a longbow, recurve bow, or selfbow string.


  • Patching a cracked limb

    Here, we'll take a quick look at using rawhide to patch a small crack in the back of an osage selfbow.


  • Osage: Harvesting & Splitting

    Description A trip home for the holidays led to a pile of osage on it's way to becoming bows. This video covers what to look for in a good tree, and how to split an osage into staves.


  • Wood arrows: Part 1

    Description This is the first in a series on building wood arrows. I'll talk a little about spine selection and straightening before dipping the shafts.


  • Wood arrows: Part 2

    Description The second in our arrow building series, this video covers self nocks, grain patterns, and fletch placement.


  • Wood Arrows: Part 3

    Description This is the final video in our three part arrow building series. Here we'll take a look at wrapping the nock with sinew, burning the feathers to shape, tapering the tips, and putting on some field tips.


  • Traditional & Primitive Bowhunting - new book

    Description I'm super excited to let everyone know I've just published my first book. It's full of stories about traditional bowhunting with a few how-to articles thrown in for good measure. Check it out....


  • Small Game Head Showdown!

    Don't forget to check out this video's top sponsor, In this episode of Field Tips, Clay puts four different small game and stump shooting heads to the test. We see how the judo, hex head, tigerclaw, and hammerhead stack up in terms of reliability, versatility, cost, and durability. We even shoot them at rocks in slow motion! You can enter TWISTED16 to get 5% off your next order at...


  • Finger Stalls for Traditional Archery

    Finger stalls are a great way to protect your fingers when shooting a recurve bow or longbow. I've been using them for quite a while. Here's a quick video showing how to make them.


  • How to make a DIY Archery Clicker

    A clicker is a great way to ensure that you're coming to full draw each and every time you shoot your longbow or recurve. In this video we'll take a look at how to make a DIY clicker from stuff you've probably got laying around the house.


  • Gap Shooting with Traditional Archery - How-to find your Gap.

    In this Field Tips episode, Clay explains how to quickly find your point of aim at various distances when using the gap shooting method of aiming in traditional archery. Big thanks to our partners who support these how-to vids! Great Coolers - Awesome Broadheads - Sweet Custom Bows -


  • Traditional Archery Tips - Part 2

    Traditional archery is a mental game. Here, Clay Hayes talks about one of the most critical aspects in learning how to shoot a traditional bow. Be sure to check out this video's primary sponsor at


  • Traditional Archery - Arrow Shelf setup

    Let's take a quick minute to talk about how to set up the arrow shelf on your traditional bow, whether it be a recurve, longbow, or selfbow.


  • Traditional Archery Tips

    Here are some tips on how to shoot a recurve bow accurately. We'll talk about developing proper shooting form, as well as discus how I aim and shoot a longbow and recurve bow. Also be sure to check out some of my other videos on traditional archery: https...


  • How to Mount & Align Broadheads

    Here's a quick look at how to mount and Align glue on Broadheads onto wood arrows.


  • How to straighten Wood Arrows

    Here, well take a quick look at how to straighten wood arrow shafts for building traditional wood arrows. Be sure to check out for more traditional archery and bow hunting tips.


  • Take Down Recurve Selfbow

    This is a quick preview of a project that's in the work. Here I show you an osage orange take down recurve selfbow that I just completed.


  • How to make a Flemish Twist bow string.

    Learn how to make a Flemish Twist Bow String. This video shows step by step how to make a flemish twist bow string for your long bow, recurve bow, or selfbow. For other great how to archery resources check out some of my other videos below. https://www....


  • How to make a DIY taper tool for wood arrows

    Here we take a look at how to make a DIY taper tool for both nock and point tapers on wood arrows. A perfect taper is hard to get with one of the pencil sharpener type or tools, but it's perfect every time with this taper tool that mounts to a disk sander. For more traditional archery videos, check out the links below.


  • Bow Making Lessons - Day 2 Tillering

    Yesterday we got this bow roughed out and nearly to the floor tillering stage. Today, we'll go through most the tillering process. We also had to do a little heat bending to take out some natural deflex. One more day and this thing should be a shooter.


  • Bow Making Lessons - Day 3 Final Tiller and Shooting

    Three days after we started this selfbow, we're ready to finish the tiller and put the first arrows through it. We discuss positive vs negative tiller.


  • Tillering Rack for longbows, recurves, selfbows.

    Here's a quick overview of my selfbow tillering rack. I discuss why I like this kind of setup, how I position my bows in the cradle, and why.


  • Selfbow Jamboree - Three Forks Montana

    Earlier this summer the Traditional Bowhunters of Montana teamed up with members of the Oklahoma Selfbow Society to put on a three day self bow building course in Western Montana. There were truckloads of Osage staves to choose from and over a dozen very qualified bow building instructors. And it didn't cost anything but the price of a stave!...


  • How to build a Recurve Bow Form

    I use a form or jig often when making self bows with recurved or reflexed limb tips. Here's a quick vid showing how to make a recurve bow form.